Sip, Eat and Indulge at the Newest Bar in Town:
Rouge Cocktail Lounge
A new speakeasy bar is now open in Old Bellevue, transporting guests into an art deco lounge featuring plush banquettes, a marble-backed bar and a luxe gold ceiling. Rouge Cocktail Lounge serves small French bites and a line of New Orleans-inspired cocktails. Owners Mary and Chris Kenney felt a cocktail gathering space was exactly what Bellevue needed.
“My husband Chris and I use to live in New York, and we would frequent these speakeasy lounges around the city," Mary Kenney said. "When we came back to Bellevue, we wanted to share this experience with the community and be part of the thriving downtown area."
Opening a business is never easy, let alone during a pandemic. The timeline wasn't linear. Rouge was arranged to open in April of 2020, but the world had other plans. The Kenneys delayed their opening to keep patrons and staff healthy, waiting patiently until they felt Rouge could be a safe environment.
“It’s been challenging to say the least," Kenney said. "There’s been a time when I wanted to quit but then I start to think about the end results. It was an unsure time for all of us and there were things we didn’t expect - like the staff shortage. We’re super grateful for the staff that we now have.”
As the pandemic continues, they remain committed to safely bringing live entertainment to Downtown Bellevue. The focal point at Rouge Cocktail Lounge is a designated performance area equipped with a vintage piano. With a background as a dancer and choreographer, Kenney is used to piecing ideas together to create a great performance.
“Many different famous performers and songs are added to the inspiration I have for Rouge," she said. "Our menu will compliment, for example, the love songs being played which will fit into the theme of the restaurant. The pieces just fit together."
Rouge is kicking off their first live performance with local artist Alex Guilbert. In the future, they hope to host live music every week with singing and dancing to create a more engaging environment.
“This is a space that is needed right now," Kenney said. "A place where families and friends can reconnect and listen to music. It's something I’ve wanted to bring to Bellevue for a while. After all that we’ve gone through, I want Rouge to be a safe and fun place where people can find exactly what they’re looking for.”
Rouge will officially open at 4:00 p.m. on November 3. Visit their website to view their full sips & bites menu, along with details about their happy hour.
This blog is part of the Heart of Bellevue: our campaign to showcase local businesses while connecting you with stories of activity, creativity and recovery. Find out about our campaign and explore more of what’s happening around Downtown.
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Rouge Cocktail Lounge
10204 Main Street
Bellevue, WA 98004